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Marikana hearing stalls as Mr X accuses Mpofu of disrespect

Gabi Falanga

The police’s key witness refused to answer further questions after the miners’ advocate brought his mental and emotional state into question.

Dali Mpofu submitted that one of the reasons Mr X’s evidence at the Farlam inquiry into the Marikana massacre should be disregarded by the commission is because he is in a bad mental and emotional state. (Reuters)

It was a difficult day at the Farlam Commission on Monday as police witness Mr X stubbornly dug his heels in and refused to answer questions after believing he had been insulted by advocate Dali Mpofu.

Mpofu, who represents the injured and arrested miners, the people whom Mr X is essentially testifying against, submitted that one of the reasons Mr X’s evidence should be disregarded by the commission is because he is in a bad mental and emotional state.

And after asking Mr X if it was correct that he had previously sustained a head injury, Mr X became increasingly incensed and frequently refused to answer Mpofu’s questions for the remainder on the day, claiming that Mpofu had been disrespectful towards him.

“Mr Mpofu said I am mad, I don’t have a brain. I was once injured on my head … How can I answer the question if I am a mad person?  He insulted me and I do not have answers for him,” Mr X said. Mr X, who is testifying via video link from a remote location for his own protection, was visibly agitated during his testimony, frowning violently and moving around in his chair.

Throughout the day, Mpofu gave various other reasons for suggesting that the commission should disregard Mr X’s evidence, saying that it lacked credibility, that Mr X suffered from delusions, that the evidence contained contradictions as well as it being irrelevant to the commission’s terms of reference.

Contradictions
“At the end of the case, I’m going to argue that your evidence lacks credibility and that it is because of the manner in which you’ve given and the things you’ve said, your evidence is irretrievably destroyed,” Mpofu told Mr X. “We’re going to ask the commission not to believe anything you’ve said if it is disputed … We’re also going to argue that even in the unlikely event that anything you said was true, it was embroiled with so many layers of lies that it cannot be separated out.”

Mpofu then listed the delusions he claims that Mr X suffers from. This included Mr X not being a member of the so-called committee of 15 and the committee of five, as he had claimed to be. Mpofu also referred to Mr X’s testimony that Amcu president, Joseph Mathunjwa, had visited the miners on the koppie on August 14 2012 – which was shown to be false.

He also pointed to contradictions in Mr X’s evidence. One such contradiction was contained in Mr X’s original statement where he claimed that one of the Lonmin security guards who was attacked and had body parts removed for their use in muti, was also “burnt to ashes”.

Evidence
However, the objective evidence as well as Mr X’s later evidence shows that Hassan Fundi, the guard who had body parts removed for muti, was not burnt.

“You know Mr X, I’m also going to argue that what you’re doing is very cruel to the families of the people who are deceased, because you are telling lies and they are very eager to have closure and find out what happened to their loved ones,” Mpofu told Mr X.

Mpofu also read parts of one of Mr X’s statements where he claims that the miners were forced to join the strike and to take muti. Meanwhile, in direct contradiction, another of Mr X’s statements claims that not all of the miners underwent the rituals because they do not believe in using muti. Mpofu managed to get Mr X to concede that the miners had joined the strike voluntarily because they were unhappy about their wages.

“Your evidence that says that you underwent these rituals because you were afraid for your life is false,” Mpofu told the witness. “According to your statement there were people who did not participate in the muti rituals, not because they did not have money or were threatened by anybody, but simply because they did not believe in muti.”

PR exercise
Mpofu’s final reasons for suggesting that Mr X’s evidence be rejected is that it is relevant to the commission’s terms of reference and that Mr X had been brought by the police to testify “just as a public relations exercise, without being able to assist with any of the questions being answered”.

Mpofu pointed out that Mr X had nothing valuable to contribute to questions about the events on or leading up to the August 16 Marikana massacre, which are being examined by the commission as per its terms of reference, because he was either “not present when they happened, or those in which he might have been repesent, he cannot be believed and in fact there’s a possibility he was not there at all.”

Mr X repeatedly denied Mpofu’s claims and was insistent that he was telling the truth and that he would not change his testimony.

The cross examination of Mr X continues on Tuesday.

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